Goodie Bags for Los Ramos


It’s not often that one gets to see immediate results of their donations or knows that all of the money received goes directly to those who need it the most. For $800 we bought over 1,000 pounds of food for 125 families. That averages out to be $6 for each goodie bag.  Thanks, Kris, for figuring that one out for me. :-) No overhead costs, no administrative costs…all the money goes directly to these lovely families of Los Ramos.

On Saturday, Ron and I walked…and sometimes climbed, scooted, and tramped over boulders to get into Los Ramos to help distribute the food bags to each family. See my earlier post.

When we arrived, Ever’s family was busy scooping rice, pouring cooking oil into small plastic bags, and packing the bags for 125 families living in Los Ramos. Landslides destroyed their community.

"Say Pizza," I say as I snap a photo. "Pizza? Where's the pizza?" they all laugh.

“Say Pizza,” I say as I snap a photo. “Pizza? Where’s the pizza?” they all laugh.

Ever's uncle has the slippery job of scooping the cooking oil and pouring it into plastic bags.

Ever’s uncle has the slippery job of scooping the cooking oil and pouring it into plastic bags.

Ever's mother organizes all the bags, and says "Hello world. Thank you for everything."

Ever’s mother organizes all the bags, and says “Hello world. Thank you for everything.”

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Travel Theme: Broken Lives


“This planet is a broken bone that didn’t set right, a hundred pieces of crystal glued together. We’ve been shattered and reconstructed.” ~ Tahereh Mafi

Broken lives…125 families forced to reconstruct their lives from the devastating rock and mudslides on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. Yesterday, Ron and I tramped over boulders and through mud to reach the Los Ramos community to deliver supplies to the families. Take a walk with us so you can see for yourselves Mother Nature’s powerful and destructive forces.

Supplies were delivered at the top of the hill. “So far, this doesn’t look too bad,” I said encouragingly to Ron.
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Keep reading. You can’t believe the destruction ahead.

A Lesson in Real Humility


“Life is a long lesson in humility.”
― J.M. Barrie

 

I was raised in the belief that one should always be humble, which I interpreted as being meek, never accepting a compliment, and certainly never acknowledging a gift or a talent one might have. But, this week, I learned that I have completely misunderstood this virtue.
Instead of an eyes cast down, submissive, weak, breast-beating virtue; I discovered within me an ability to take an honest appraisal of my abilities, and accept responsibility for the good and not-so-good things that I have done.

After the horrifying mud and rock slides that consumed the indigenous community of Los Ramos, I took a hard look at what I could do to help this community. What was I good at doing? What was I ridiculously silly at attempting to do?

I’m too old to be digging boulders out of their road. My Spanish isn’t good enough to go door to door and collect money for the community. I can’t drive a straight nail. Truth be told, I hate driving at all. I don’t have a green thumb. I’m embarrassingly clumsy.

Yet, all false modesty aside, I am a great organizer. I can write well, and my computer skills are excellent. I have a large network of family, friends, and bloggers all over the world. It dawned on me that I could confidently use these skills to help Los Ramos rebuild.
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We Must Be Living in a Vortex!


“I hate to say this,” said my attorney as we sat down at the Merry-Go-Round Bar on the second balcony, “but this place is getting to me. I think I’m getting the Fear.””Nonsense,” I said. “We came here to find the American Dream, and now that we’re right in the vortex you want to quit.” I grabbed his bicep and squeezed. “You must realize,” I said, “that we’ve found the main nerve.””I know,” he said. “That’s what gives me the Fear.”

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Chapter 6, A Night on the Town…p. 47-48

I think I’m getting the Fear. Last night there was a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in northern Nicaragua, near the border of El Salvador. My cat, Queenie, tried to warn me. I’ve heard that animals are sensitive to movements of the earth. Queenie was exceptionally persistent in rubbing against me and kneading my belly. I thought she just wanted fed.

“What’s wrong with you tonight?” I asked as she dug her sharp claws into my stomach. “Do you miss your brother, Black Jack?”

Earthquake ahead!

Ometepe Island Mudslides and Destruction


Early Wednesday morning on October 8th, I awoke to take photos of the blood moon. The sky was inky black with clouds hiding the stars, as well as the eclipse of the moon. While I was standing on the beach, I shivered with a sense of foreboding. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something big was about to happen.

Thursday, the rains started. In 12 hours, we had 15 inches of rain. We lost our power early Thursday evening. Then, Friday morning, we had to walk into Moyogalpa to catch the ferry to take our very sick cat, Black Jack, to the vet in Rivas.

The rain sliced through the dark morning sky like sheets of glass. Our local beach bar’s ranchos toppled over like dominos.

IMG_4871 Please read more.

An Open Letter to the Chinese


Ometepe and the ChineseThree weeks ago, a Chinese delegation representing the proposed Nicaraguan Canal came to Ometepe Island. They measured land south of our new airport in La Paloma, including Punta Jesus Maria, a sacred and lovely point of land, which served as an indigenous trading port thousands of years ago, and now, is a must-see tourism locality.

Wang Jing has complete sovereignty and power to exercise dominion over all areas along the proposed canal route. He does not have to ask permission of any mayor, the expropriation of land is at his whim, and he will not have to pay taxes.
Please read on and SPREAD the WORD!

What Really Matters?


“As one old gentleman put it,  “Son, I don’t care if you’re stark nekkid and wear a bone in your nose. If you kin fiddle, you’re all right with me. It’s the music we make that counts.”
― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

 

I am ready to make some music…either that or get stark nekkid and wear a bone in my nose.  We’ve been home a week, and in that time…

  • Our cat, Black Jack, almost died from a urinary track blockage.
  • The police confiscated my new-to-me little orange dune buggy, took it for a joy ride and crashed it.
  • Our lawyer said we have a problem with the title to our property on Ometepe Island…which always involves lots of money.
  • The city put in a new high pressure pump and it blew out some of our water-lines.
  • Ocho, our other cat, was AWOL for five days.
  • The Chinese are measuring property near our new airport for a resort. WE LIVE NEAR THE AIRPORT!  I think it goes along with their plan for the proposed Nicaraguan canal.
  • The library at our local elementary school is ready for me to set-up. HHI wants to return to film us for the library’s grand opening in their new show, HHI, Where Are They Now?
  • And…and…I’m sick. It must be stress related.

So, I have to ask myself…What really matters? If I don’t, you’ll probably find me stark nekkid, running around my yard with a bone in my nose.

Read more to find what really matters to me.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs of Nicaragua


You know you’re in Nicaragua, when you see signs like this….

Gotta find the baño quickly?
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You can take your cell phone with you to the women’s room.

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Maybe you need a haircut?

IMG_4777Or some really HOT new-to-you American clothes?
IMG_4743Looking for a hotel?
IMG_4695Or, maybe a bad girl?
IMG_5365Need to find a restaurant on a surfing beach?
IMG_5358Sorry Swindlers! This house is NOT for sale! Continue reading

Driving Ms. Debbie


“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu

Life is a trip in the land of the not quite right (Nicaragua). I’m learning to expect the unexpected and let reality be reality.  But, occasionally things happen that are so unforeseen, that the only thing to do is let things flow naturally forward in whatever bizarre way they like. It’s the only way to survive in Nicaragua!

Robinson and I went to Granada yesterday to pick-up my new-to-me Scartt dune buggy. I’ve lived in Nicaragua long enough to know that our two-hour drive back to the port to catch the ferry with my conspicuous orange machine would draw a lot of attention….especially from the police.  So, Robinson drove “Ms. Debbie” to the amusement of every trucker, bicycler, cowboy, and vendor along the way.

IMG_4846 The adventure has only begun. Wait until you read what happens next!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Night Lights


We just returned to Ometepe Island from a marathon of airports…18 to be exact. In two weeks! I enjoy taking night photos, and I had plenty of time riding red eye flights across the U.S. to snap a few good shots. Let’s light up the night sky together.

Leaving Los Angeles at midnight, the lights in the city of angels were mesmerizing.
IMG_4774IMG_4788 More Night Lights ahead.